3 leadership qualities from the gridiron

This month has been a wild one if you have long admired some of the best coaches in the game of football. In the same week we found out Nick Saban was retiring as the coach of the University of Alabama (winning 6 National Championships during his time there) and Bill Belichick announced he was leaving the New England Patriots (winning 6 Super Bowls with the Pats).

For fans of leadership who enjoy looking at it from a coaching perspective, here are 3 things you can learn from great football coaches.

You have to see your vision come to life

In college football, the best coaches have a plan. They’re not just trying to throw the best twenty-two men on the field every game (although that is definitely part of it) but they’re trying to build something that can be sustained year after year. Ever notice how it seems like you see the same teams in the preseason rankings every August? It’s because they’re not just building teams, but cultures. Every year, some players come in (freshman, transfers) and some leave (graduation, NFL draft, transfers), but the new guys learn from the upperclassman who have been in the program and bought into the culture. (yeah the transfer portal is making that a little more difficult). Without a vision for your team, you’re never going to be able to sustain a winning culture in your credit union.

Collaboration is big key

Team sports are all about collaboration. Not only do offenses and defenses need to work together, but coaches do too. Every coach has a role to play and if they’re not doing their part, the team will suffer. You might have a great defense. But if your offense keeps going three-and-out, you’re going to quickly wear out your defense. On the flip side, you might have fantastic offense. A great quarterback with tremendous poise who’s great under pressure; a stable of running backs with great vision and toughness; fast and shifty wide receivers with great hands who catch anything in their vicinity … that offense can put up 40 points per game, but if your defense is giving up 50 per game, guess what? You’re going to lose a lot of games. It’s the head coach’s job to make sure his coordinators have the offense and defense getting the job done. And you need your team to do the same at your credit union.


Respect is a big deal in a locker room. If your team doesn’t respect each other, there’s a good chance they’re not going to trust each other. And that all starts at the top. Have you ever heard the phrase “run through a brick wall for you”? When a player has that kind of feeling about their coach, that’s a good sign that there’s a healthy culture in place. Players that play for each other and their coaches are usually part of winning programs. What’s the vibe like in your “locker room”? Does your team respect and trust each other?

John Pettit

John Pettit

John Pettit is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. Through news, community, press, jobs and events, he keeps credit unions digitally informed throughout the day. Web: www.cuinsight.com Details